Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Dales Way - Day 4: Ribblehead to Sedbergh

Saturday 22nd February 2014 

A morning moorland walk followed by an afternoon walking down Dentdale 

Distance 28km; Ascent: 480m; Dry until late afternoon; Solo

I had a long day ahead of me today so I set off walking from The Station Inn at around 8:30am after a good breakfast.  I decided that I didn't fancy retracing my steps back along the road, so instead came up with an alternative route over to Dentdale, via Little Dale and Blea Moor.

Train crossing the Ribblehead Viaduct 
Ribblehead Viaduct in front of a misty Ingleborough
The track alongside the railway made for reasonable walking, with good views of the impressive Ribblehead Viaduct, on the famous Settle to Carlisle line.  There were plenty of other walkers out today, although they all seemed to be heading for Whernside so I soon left them behind as I continued on up Little Dale.

Looking back down into Little Dale
Soon I began to ascend on the track, which here runs pretty much directly above the Bleamoor railway tunnel, past a couple of large cylindrical air shafts for the tunnel.  Shortly after passing the third air shaft, I left the track and ascended over pathless moorland to reach the trigpoint on the summit of Blea Moor (HuMP, Dewey).

Trig point on Blea Moor
On the summit of Blea Moor
There were good views from up here, although I imagine they'd be better on a clear day; however I didn't linger long as there was a bitterly cold wind.  I headed NE to reach the high point of the fence, before roughly following it back NW to the track.

Air Shaft for Blea Moor tunnel above upper Dentdale
I passed another air shaft; this one was adorned with scaffolding, solar panels and various gadgets - I wonder if it is some sort of automated weather station?  I continued to descend through the woods to reach the northern portal of the railway tunnel.

Northern portal of Blea Moor Tunnel
I passed Dent House Farm, before crossing over a grass covered bridge to reach the minor road in upper Dentdale.  I quickened my pace as I walked NNE along the road, with good views of Dent Head Viaduct and Artengill Viaduct.

Grassy bridge in upper Dentdale
Train crossing Arten Gill Viaduct
Soon I stopped for lunch in the sunshine, on the wall between the road and the river.  After refuelling, I continued down the pleasant dale complete with the River Dee tumbling down the various limestone steps in the river bed.

River Dee
Looking down Dentdale
River Dee
After quite a bit more walking along footpaths and road, I reached the lovely cobbled village of Dent, where I took a well earned break in the picnic area.  It would have been nice to call into one of the enticing looking teashops, but I was now well and truly up against the clock if I was going to get to Sedbergh before nightfall.

Memorial in Dent
St Andrew's Church, Dent
I left Dent at around 4:15pm and headed NW along the road to rejoin the Dales Way, which I followed across fields for the next few kilometres before joining a minor road on the south side of the valley.  There had clearly been a lot of rain recently as this road was quite flooded in several places - I was glad I was wearing gaiters!

Flooded road in lower Dentdale
As the light was beginning to fade, I opted to divert from the Dales Way for the rest of the day and instead follow the road into Sedbergh where I stayed for the evening.

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